Wednesday, January 18, 2017


I was in a local convenience store this past week, and a young black man turned to me and asked, "Are you Jewish?"  "No," I said.  "You look Jewish," he said.  I said, "Well, my great-grandmother in Germany was Jewish."  And he nodded and said, "You've got Jewish blood in you."  I was about to ask him what exactly made him think I looked Jewish, but he had already turned and walked away. 

Now usually I would just describe that person as a "young man", nfs.  But upon reflection, perhaps this encounter was more significant than just odd banter.  In reading about the swastikas painted on venerable synagogues and temples, it seems most of the perpetrators are young and white--"Aryan Nation" types.  Guess in this case, anyway, it's more widespread than that.  Heaven help us.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Trying to organize my New Year's Resolutions.  I've never made any in my 80+ years on the planet. But I've been inspired by Emilie Johnson's blog.  Her parents sat her and her 7 siblings down every year and helped them consider their lives in 5 areas:

1. spiritual
2. physical
3. academic
4. music/art
5. emotional

In her most recent post from France, she talks about what she'd like to do this year, and
I've adapted some of her suggestions to my own life:

1. spend time outside every day.
2. listen to music.
3. read actual magazines and newspapers in addition to print books (because of our wonderful library here, I can do this without having to buy these things).
4. work on my Spanish (She said her French, as she is already fluent in French.  I know a tiny bit, but I want to get more into Spanish, since there are so many people here who speak it--and there are
free Spanish newspapers at the metro stop).
5. eat less, but more really good food
6. formalize my creative projects (hoo boy)
7. call friends more often. (oy)
8. travel
9. be mindful and never let the local beauty go unremarked/unappreciated.

It's now 10 a.m. or so, and I started this just after 7 a.m.  so...there's work to do.....

Monday, September 12, 2016


I've been reading Edna O'Brien's new book, The Little Red Chairs.   And there's this on page 13 (author, if not O'Brien, unknown), though the italic formatting is mine:

"Santa didn't come
His brother took his place
Santa's dead.
Santa's dead?
That's what he said.
Annihilated on his sled?
 That's what he said.
Well, this is it, son,
This is it.
Dark, dark shit....

Friday, September 9, 2016

Good question!!

Finally I have my hands on Robert Henri's book, The Art Spirit.  On page 82, he asks,
Why do we love the sea?  It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.
 So....What are these things we like to think??

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dancing on the Steps of Coffman....

All Night They Are Dancing

[In prowling around for photos on a collection of jump drives, I found some old poems I wrote back when I lived in Minneapolis.  I'll start with this one.  I was in my Native American poetry phase, and I loved their cadence.]

All night they are dancing on the steps of Coffman
All night the nations are dancing on the steps of Coffman

Homely boy is dancing
Filled with grace,
Wheeling like a gull behind a tractor.

Old Asian man is dancing
Filled with light
Light his steps and light
The space between
His elbows and knees,
Pumping up and down
Like puppet limbs.

Old Asian man is dancing
With old Caucasian woman.
She wears a red raincoat. 
She wears a plaid hat.
She is lovely, old Caucasian woman.
Her oxfords carry her ancient feet like chariots.

Beautiful people are dancing
On the steps of Coffman
Adorned in costly shirts and cutoffs
On the steps of Coffman.

Their hair is richly plaited
Their hair is dyed bright red and black and yellow.

The married couples are dancing.
In ecstasy they are dancing, making one
Out of self they are dancing.
Out of breath they are dancing.
They pinch each other’s behinds as they pass.

Like a wind that winds among the cottonwoods
The people are dancing.
Like leaves of the cottonwood they bow to each other
Like leaves of the sacred tree they make
Holy space between them.

Gentle are the faces they show to one another.
Kindly and fine are the patterns they make.

In dignity and beauty they are dancing
In joy and enthusiasm the people are dancing.

Music sounds from the steps of Coffman
An old dog wears a red bandanna.

The people are awaiting heaven—
The people are creating heaven.

Verbum Sap 3

My friend Mary Lou gave me this motto that she got from the Self-Esteem group at St. Vincent's:
"I correctly take myself into consideration first in all matters."

I asked her what her take was on panhandlers, as I wrestle with this all the time.....She does not fork
over her money.  She said "We are very different in this, Mary Ellen.  I have savings and take care of
myself first."  ok ok.  I get it.  It's hard for me to pass beggars on the street, and there are MANY here in DC.  Mary Lou lives in Soho, NYC, and as you might imagine, there are ample opportunities in that area for her to give away her funds to needy people, also.  But she does not.  And I honor her attitude.  $aving$.  Mary Lou does not have a toilet in her apartment--it's down the hall, and the bathtub is in the kitchen--but she has savings!! and volunteers her time in many ways--something I haven't done in years.  Learning something new and valuable every single day, here.  My dear therapist Jackie used to say "we have to get you over your vow of poverty."  ha.  Yas'm.


Sunday, August 28, 2016


tried oil pastels for a change....this is a copy of a picture, "Burano Houses" by Margaret Evans in her book Pastels, first published in 2008 by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.  

I love working with pastels, even though I don't know anything about it.  Need to get some good fixative to keep the pastels on the canvas board.  I've done two coats of what the Blick guy recommended, but I want something stronger.

And so it goes.  I'm trying to do some clouds, but not getting very far.  There are all kinds of clouds, though...cirrus, stratus, cumulus and infinite combinations thereof.  Hmmm...